Friday, April 26, 2019

How Does A Car Crash Property Damage Claim Work in Louisville, Kentucky?

You have three claims in Kentucky for a car crash: property damage, injury, and personal injury protection.  This article discusses the property damage.
If you are not at fault for a crash the other person’s insurance company will pay for your car to be fixed.  At the scene of a crash it is important to get this information.  Without knowing who the other carrier is the only way to get this information is the police report.  And that often takes 3-5 business days.

The second, and often faster way, is to have your insurance carrier fix the vehicle.  Clients are often concerned about their rates going up if they use their own insurance.  There is a Kentucky Statute that states if you are not at fault for a crash they cannot raise your rates.  The catch here is you will have to front the deductible until the other persons insurance reimburses you.  That may take some time.
If the other person does not have insurance you will need to go through your own carrier to get the car fixed.  If you do not have this coverage it is a problem.

Your injury lawyer should set up the property damage claim for you.  The next step is to take the vehicle for an estimate if the vehicle is drivable.  If the vehicle is not drivable your lawyer will authorize an adjuster to come out to your house to discuss property damage.  The ONLY thing you should discuss with a property damage adjuster is damage to your car.  Some of them try to ask questions about what happened in the crash or your injuries.  Better to have a lawyer present for that line of questioning. 

If you are at fault for a crash the only way to get your car fixed is through your comprehensive/collision coverage.  Call your carrier if you have this coverage and have them fix the vehicle.

Where Should I Take My Car to Be Fixed After a Car Crash in Louisville, Kentucky?

Carriers often want you to bring the vehicle to a place they recommend.  I think this is a terrible idea.  If the insurance company is using a place over and over that place probably has loyalties to the insurance company and not you.  I drive a GMC truck and was in a crash in December.  I brought my truck to GMC to get fixed because I wanted it done the right way.  I could have brought it to any body shop and I was under no obligation to use the four shops my insurance company recommended.

What if My Car is Totaled After a Kentucky Car Crash?

If your vehicle is totaled you will be entitled to the market value of the vehicle at the time of the loss.  A problem can arise when you owe more on a vehicle than it is worth.  GAP coverage can help here if you have it.  It is frustrating when an insurance company offers you less than what you owe, but under the law the market value is the right valuation.  The market value is what a reasonable buyer and seller would come to in an arms length transaction.  The best way to figure this out is by pricing your car on the internet.  Use the same make, model, mileage as a guideline. 

Will My Car Crash Lawyer Help Me?

Although I represent my clients on their injury claim I assist them on property damage claims as well.  That usually isn’t often as my clients are going to know way more about their car than I will know.
Happy to answer any questions.

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

How does a Minor Car Crash Settlement Work in Louisville, Kentucky?

Yesterday I resolved a Louisville car crash case for a child with a facial fracture.  The case is complicated in that my client's mother was the driver.  She was at fault for the crash. 

The mother carried a $25,000.00 policy. Her carrier initially offered $17,100.00.  That was bumped up to $18,500.00.  I was told there was no more room by the adjuster.  He asked me to come "off the policy."  I told him no.  I expressed to the adjuster the defendant/mother would be asked the following:  "What is your child's pain and suffering worth?  A few hours later they emailed me the $25,000.00 release.  Sometimes knowing which buttons to press is all you need.  And in the long run this adjuster made the right decision which was nice to see.

Your first question is did the kid sue his mother?  He did not.  We resolved the case pre-litigation and it is his mothers insurance company that is paying.  That is not to say I wouldn't have sued his mother if they didn't pay an appropriate amount to resolve the case.

Because my client is under 18 years old the settlement must be approved by the probate court.  What this means is that paperwork must be filed with the court outlining the injuries, the settlement, and where the money is going.  It is called a Petition to Approve Minor Settlement.  In Jefferson County, Kentucky this motion is required for car crash cases involving a minor when the amount is over $10,000.00.

The reason for this process is to ensure a minors funds are not mismanaged or misplaced.  Plenty of parents have the best intentions for their kids, but there are some bad apples that have taken money and caused this issue.

In order to file the petition I'll first draw up closing documents showing where the money is going.  This will show the settlement, fees, costs, liens that are being paid back, and medical expenses associated with the car crash.

Next, I will attach those closing documents to the Motion to Approve Minor Settlement.  Depending on the case some medical bills may be attached to show proof of payment.  The motion will also state what injuries were sustained.  It will state how my client is doing now.

An affidavit from a guardian stating they approve of the settlement will attach.  A proposed order placing the funds in a blocked account is next.  That order will place the funds in an untouchable
account until the minor turns 18.  This makes the money inaccessible to anyone without a court order.

Next, I will go to the probate office and get a hearing date.  This will allow the judge to evaluate my motion.  When I show up to court I will ask for her/his approval of my motion/order.

If a judge thinks everything is acceptable they will sign the order.  This allows the guardian to sign the insurance company release.  That will be sent to the insurance company in exchange for a check.  I will then take the order with me to the bank along with the insurance company check for deposit.  Paperwork will be filed with the court confirming deposit of the funds.

Its a time consuming process. However, it ensures my clients money goes where it is meant to go.

Each case is different, but that is a general outline.

I'm happy to answer any questions at

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Friday, April 12, 2019

What Kind of Doctor do I Need After a Louisville Car Crash?

Short Answer: One you like and trust.

Long Answer: After a car crash you have the option to go to the hospital.  My estimation is more than half of people do go to the hospital.

If your injuries are life threatening you will most likely be taken to the University of Louisville Hospital (kids will go to Norton Children). If your injuries are not life threatening Norton, Jewish, Baptist East, and the other local hospitals will usually evaluate you and make sure nothing is broken.  Assuming nothing requires overnight stay/surgery the hospital will release you and instruct you to follow up with your primary care physician.


Here is where you can run into a problem.  A lot of primary care physicians don’t want to deal with car crash cases.  For one, they don’t know how to get their bill paid.  The second hold up is that they don’t want to potentially be involved in litigation (aka stopping their practice to provide depositions to lawyers).

I was in a car crash in December of 2018.  I called my primary care physician after going to the hospital and they tried to refer me to occupational therapy in Middletown. I’m not driving 20 minutes to Middletown for physical therapy appointments.  Let me recap: My primary care physician WOULD NOT see me after my car crash (defense lawyers like to make a big deal about this at trial).  The experience was frustrating, but nobody is going to tell a primary care physician what they have to do.  And nobody should.

That said, if your primary care physician will see you then make an appointment.  They will most likely refer you to chiropractic, physical therapy, or another specialist that deals with car crashes on a daily basis.


If your primary care physician will not see you there are other options.  There are doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, and other professionals that focus on car crash treatment.  These medical professionals deal day in and day out with car crash victims.  As a result, they develop expertise.  It’s the same thinking behind why you hire someone that only does car crash cases as your lawyer.  I don’t want a doctor that occasionally treats a car crash victim.  My preference is someone doing it on a daily basis.

So how do you determine which facility to use.  Find a provider that is close to where you live or work.  Make it convenient for you to make appointments.  I see about two to four visits per week on average for my clients depending on the injury.  If treatment isn’t consistent than an insurance company will jump down your lawyer’s throat for a “delay in treatment” (even if you had a good reason like having to work!).  If they do it will “de-value” your case.


It is also important to consider the injuries as related to the crash.  Do you think your rotator cuff is torn? Go see an orthopedic surgeon.  Do you have issues with your back and neck? A chiropractor goes to school for four years to fix those issues.  Is your head really hurting? Time for a neurologist.  You also have the option to see multiple medical providers.  Your chiropractor may send you for an MRI or an orthopedic surgeon may send you to pain management.

You can also ask your lawyer for options.  He or she won’t recommend a place that doesn’t know what they are doing and your lawyer can walk you thorough this whole process.

I am happy to answer any questions and my email is
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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Kim K Should Not Go to Law School. She Should Skip It and Still be a Lawyer.

I just read an article that says Kim Kardashian is studying to be a lawyer.

This is my understanding: she is skipping undergrad and law school and entering an apprentice program under an experienced lawyer for eighteen hours a week.  Her studies will last for four years.  Once the apprenticeship is over she takes the bar exam.

The California Bar Exam is notoriously difficult.  Multiple outlets deem it the hardest bar exam in the Country.

If Kim K can finish her apprenticeship and pass the hardest bar exam in the country then she should be admitted as an attorney.  I know that sounds strange from a law school graduate, but hear me out.

First, before there were law schools there were lawyers.  And there were presumably really good lawyers that learned how to lawyer from other lawyers.  This how really good modern lawyers also learn to lawyer...they just have to wait three years until law school is over.

The apprenticeship path to lawyering pre-dated the modern system.  My take is that the modern system developed as a sophisticated barrier of entry and has since developed into a money making enterprise (whole separate discussion there).

The amount of law school knowledge I use in my daily practice is basically zero.  I don't really use property, con law, and criminal law.  I do use torts and contracts.  All of those are taught in the first year.  More upper level niche classes like Insurance I do use, but I don't use Environmental Law.  Am I happy I took a bunch of upper level classes from an intellectual standpoint: Yes.  Can I figure out any legal issue as a result of law school: Yes.  Do I think a lot of upper level law school is a total waste of time: Yes.

I learned most of what I do on a daily basis AFTER LAW SCHOOL by through doing it, asking questions, and having mentors.

No more than one year of law school is necessary to learn the very basics of law.  From there every lawyer should be forced to spend a year in an actual courtroom.  I don't care if that is family law, prosecuting, insurance defense, or public defender work.  Without being there you can puff all you want on how you will try a case, but its exactly that puffing.  I think the third year of law school should be spent at a firm with a mentor learning the business and practice of law.

There is also the question of whether or not while in law school I spent more than 18 hours a week doing law school work.  I took a lot of bullshit filler classes my second and third year of law school.  I had to because that was what was required to graduate.   That time would have been way better spend doing the things in the above paragraph.

I would also note there are a lot of people who did really good in law school that aren't good lawyers. Same way there are ok law school students that are amazing lawyers.

Really just thoughts but I'll put ADVERTISING MATERIAL here to cover myself.

Monday, April 8, 2019

My Injury Case Resolved Without a Lawsuit. What is Next?

The majority of cases are resolved without a lawsuit being filed.  Why cases resolve before litigation is the topic of another post.  For the purpose of this article I'm not getting into it.

So lets say the insurance company made an offer that was accepted by your lawyer.  There is still work to be done.  You are about 75% through the process once an agreement is made.

First, the insurance company needs to send a release for review.  Your lawyer then needs to go over the release and make sure it is acceptable.  Some insurance companies have very straightforward, simple releases.  See State Farm.  Some insurance companies have bunch of legal mumbo jumbo that makes no sense and five pages worth of some fancy language a lawyer told them to add.  See Liberty Mutual.

If an insurance company tries to add language that is not acceptable it becomes a problem.  It is rare, but I've filed motions to enforce settlement against insurance companies for trying to sneak some language in that wasn't agreed upon.  Those motions take time to be heard by a judge.

Normally, to get a release takes a few days via mail (if its not emailed over).   Review is usually pretty quick.  Maybe a day.  If that's the case and the release is acceptable it is signed by you and sent back to the insurance company so they can send a check.

Some insurance companies send a check with the release with instruction not to deposit until the release is sent back.  This speeds up the process.  It really depends on the insurance company and how they handle this procedure.

If they don' send the release and check together we fax back the release and the insurance company has 30 days to send a check.  It usually doesn't take that long.

In addition to everything above your lawyer needs to figure out who you owe money to (assuming they haven't already) and possibly get that number down to get more money in your pocket.

Lets say you have $15,000.00 in total medical expenses.  Usually in Kentucky, you will have PIP already paid the first $10,000.00 and there will be $5,000.00 in "outstandings."

Depending on the settlement that number may be negotiable.  If a medical provider has $5,000.00 in outstandings and your settlement is a quarter million dollars they probably aren't going to negotiate it.  If the settlement is $10,000.00 the story line changes.

There is also the issue of health insurance, medicare, and medicaid liens.  The amount you owe to these providers MUST be paid by your lawyer.  The insurance company for the other side puts it in their release so they do not get sued along with you and your lawyer.  Getting a "final lien letter" from these places can only happen when the case resolved.  This slows up the process.  Keep in mind the slowing of a process is also annoying for us lawyers.  We want to get you this money and we want you to be happy!  However, liens take some time to figure out.

Once the numbers are sorted out it is time for your lawyer to draw up closing documents showing where all the money is going.  That usually isn't complicated once the numbers are established.

You will then sign the closing documents and if the lawyer has the check it will be deposited into an escrow account.  Escrow is a fancy term for basically a holding place.  The money must go into a lawyer's escrow account and then be distributed from there.  When a check is deposited into my escrow account it needs twenty four hours to hit the system before I can write a check to a client.

This is a GENERAL overview.  If there are no liens or outstandings this should take a few weeks.  If there are liens and outstandings it can take longer.

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Friday, April 5, 2019

What Happens When a Minimal Impact Car Crash Case Goes to Trial in Louisville?

TRIAL ALERT: My client, while driving a Hummer, was rear ended by a Camry.
Zero property damage to the Hummer. It wasn't repaired because it didn't need to be. That didn't mean that my clients shoulder wasn't injured. His hand was on the shift at impact which jammed his shoulder.
After offering nuisance money at mediation on account of the "minimal" damage the defense lawyer asked me if I was going to drop the case. I told him no.
Two month before trial the defense lawyer told me he would get my costs of $6,000.00 back to me if I would just resolve the case. I told him no.
It was a difficult case, but I kept on telling the defense we were going to try it.
We did.
A jury awarded seven times what they offered at mediation.
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ps. I've ordered a video of the closings. I'll post it when ready.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

What Happens in a Car Crash Jury Trial in Jefferson County, Kentucky

It is rare that a case goes to trial.  I sometimes hear about the “good old days” when every other week a lawyer was trying a case in the courthouse.  I’m not sure if that is an effective method given the amount of cases currently in Jefferson County, Kentucky, but in any case its not going to happen again for a variety of reasons.  The most relevant is probably mediation.  A lot of cases resolve at mediation or at the courthouse steps.  That is the discussion of another post.  But, by way of background, mediation, the unpredictability of juries, insurance companies avoiding risk, and plaintiffs wanting to know exactly how they will be compensated have all combined to result in less jury trials.

I’ve tried a case each month for the past three months.  When we have downtime and the jury isn’t present somebody inevitably asks how many trials have taken place this year.  My review is that the average division tries between four and eight civil cases a year.  There are thirteen divisions.

So what happens when your case goes to trial.

Depending on the division you will show up at either 10AM or in the afternoon.  The judge is going to have other cases on the docket, but will try to move them along to get the jury seated.  The first step is any pre-trial motions that haven’t already been decided.  This includes motions in limine.  That is basically one lawyer arguing that the other lawyer can’t argue something to the jury.  For example, the defense will inevitably file a motion in limine to prevent anyone from mentioning insurance.

Once the pre-trial motions are over the court will ask both parties if they are ready for trial.  Both parties will presumably say yes and then a jury will be brought up from the second floor.  The jury will be seated in the back of the courtroom and the judge will go over some preliminaries: what is this case about, can everyone understand English, is anyone excused, is anyone a convicted felon.  General stuff.

The judge will then allow the plaintiff lawyer to ask questions of the jury through a process called voir dire, or as a normal person would call it, jury selection.  Once the plaintiff lawyer is finished the defense lawyer will be given the opportunity to ask questions.   That will usually last less than two hours for both parties.

The judge will then dismiss the jury and ask the parties is they have a motion to strike any of the jurors for cause.  What is really being asked is did anyone tell you something in jury selection that shows they can’t be fair and impartial during this trial.  Rulings will be made based on what the potential jurors said.
My experience has been the judge will then randomly select a bunch of numbers and cull the total amount to around nineteen people.  Each party will then be given four strikes to get rid of jurors they don’t particularly like.  The parties will submit them for review and the clerk will take them out of the running upon the judges instruction.

Jurors will come back in the room.  Those chosen will move forward and take their seats in the jury box at the front of the courtroom.

You are likely at lunch time now.  Time for a break.

Upon return to the courtroom the judge will swear in the jurors by asking them to commit to hearing the case based on the facts and evidence.

Once the jury is sworn the judge will ask the plaintiff lawyer to make an opening.  The purpose of an opening is to lay out what you expect the evidence will show.  The purpose of an opening is not to have either lawyer argue their case.  Plaintiff finishes the opening and then the defense lawyer gets the same opportunity.  Both parties may object when the other party is making an opening.

The Plaintiff will then put on his witnesses.   This can take a few hours or a few months.  Direct examination of the witnesses means the plaintiff’s lawyer cannot “lead” the witness and needs to ask questions pursuant to the rules of evidence.  Once the witness is done being directed the defense will have the chance to cross examine the witness.  Plaintiff will then get to re-direct the witness based on the cross examination.   This will go on and on until the Plaintiff has called all of the witnesses they intend to call.

The plaintiff will then rest his or her case in the view of the jury.  The judge will ask the parties to approach and the defense will most likely move for a judgment on the evidence.  The defense will basically argue that the plaintiff hasn’t proved his case and no reasonable juror would hold in the favor of the plaintiff.

If this motion gets denied the defendant will have the opportunity to put on a case.  It will go the same way with the defense directing the witness, but this time around the Plaintiff will do the cross examination.

When the defendant is finished they will rest their case and most likely make another movement for a judgement on the evidence.

If the judge denies the motion than the jurors will be sent out of the courtroom so the judge and the lawyers can discuss the jury instructions.

The judge will be the ultimate say on the jury instructions and when they are ready the judge will call the jury back in and read them the instructions.  Once the instructions are finished the defense lawyer will make their closing argument.  When that is finished the plaintiff lawyer will make his or her closing argument.
The jury will then be taken by the deputy sheriff to the jury deliberation room in the back of the courthouse (on the same floor usually) and then the deputy sheriff will return to the courtroom to get the evidence to bring to the jury.

The jury will deliberate and send questions if they have them to the judge via the bailiff.  The last three cases I’ve tried the jury has asked about insurance.  Judge will instruct jury that insurance is not meant to take part in their deliberation.
When the jury is done deliberating they will inform the deputy sheriff.  Deputy sheriff will then tell the judge and all of the jurors will be brought into the jury box.  The foreperson will hand the verdict to the deputy sheriff who will hand it to the judge for review.  Once reviewed the judge will read the verdict.

The jurors will be thanked for their service and released from that trial.  The judge will then entertain any post verdict motions from the parties.

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